Aitchison to Step Down as Head Track Coach
After ten incredibly successful years as the head boys’ and girls’ track coach at Seattle Academy, Assistant Athletic Director Erin Aitchison ‘98 has decided to step down from coaching. Taking over as the new head coach of the SAAS track team will be her long-time assistant and current SAAS head cross country coach Gavin Tucker.
“There’s no other sport out there that brings together such an eclectic group of athletes and places them on one team,” said Erin. “It’s part of the reason I love track and field. I was able to work with and connect with such a broad range of students from our community - celebrate their victories and help them through their challenges. It’s a lot of hours on the track, on the bus, and in the stands. A lot of time to truly be a team in what can so often feel like such an individual sport, and I feel like we accomplished that each season, which is one of my proudest accomplishments.”
Erin took over the SAAS track program in the spring of 2009, from long-time track coach and current head of school Rob Phillips. The move immediately paid dividends as Erin was named Emerald City League (ECL) track Coach-of-the-Year in her first season. Over the next ten years, she would win the award six times. Erin led the boys’ track team to three Emerald City League titles (2013, 2014, and 2015), and the girls’ team to five ECL titles (2012 to 2016). She also led the girls’ team to second place finishes in the state tournament in 2010 and 2018 and had state qualifiers all ten years she coached.
“I would like to thank Erin for ten wonderful years,” said SAAS Athletic Director Cathy Schick. “She took over a very successful program, established for years by Rob, and kept it going. Her passion for the sport showed every single day. She’s a true credit to her profession, and we’ll certainly miss her out on the track each day.”
A 1998 Seattle Academy graduate, Erin was a part of the 4 x 400 relay team that won the state championship her senior year. After graduating from SAAS, she attended Occidental where she was a four-year member of their track program. After graduation from Occidental, Erin became an assistant track coach at her alma mater, before returning to SAAS. Erin was one of Rob’s assistants for the SAAS girls’ track team that won the school’s first ever state team championship in 2005, before taking over the program in 2009.
“I have been extremely fortunate as a coach – having the opportunity to have coached at both my college and high school alma maters,” said Erin. “Getting the chance to work with the beginning athlete to state champions and All Americans – I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Gavin has been the head cross country coach for SAAS for the past three years and has been an assistant track coach at SAAS in nine of the past eleven years.
“Such a bittersweet time,” said Gavin. “While I’m stoked to have been given this opportunity to guide the team; no one can truly fill Erin’s shoes. It’s going to be tough, but I’m ready to roll. I’ll always be thankful for all I’ve learned from her over the years.”
Gavin, a current employee at Amazon, is a graduate of the University of Washington. He has coached track on and off for the past eighteen years. Prior to coaching track at SAAS, Gavin coached at West Valley and Issaquah High Schools. He holds track and field certifications in sprints, jumps, distance events, and throws.
“No one coach makes a program, and I certainly couldn’t have made it through each season without the incredible crew around me and that certainly includes Gavin,” said Erin. “I am forever thankful for the hours and commitment to the sport my assistant coaches have provided over the years. They helped make each day feel like I was spending time with family and sharing in something we all loved doing.”
“Gavin has already done a wonderful job with our cross country program, and we’re now extremely excited to have him head up our track program as well,” said Cathy. “He’s proven to be a great fit at SAAS, and we very much look forward to working with him this spring.”
We wish both Erin and Gavin the best of luck in their future endeavors and Go Cardinals!
Remember, you can like us on Seattle Academy’s Facebook page at Seattle Academy Cardinals https://www.facebook.com/SAASCardinals or follow SAAS Athletics on Twitter @SAASCardinals, https://twitter.com/SAASCardinalsAbove Photo: Erin with Lake Lewis ’18 at the Bi-District track meet in May 2018.
Below Photo: At the 2018 state track meet in Cheney. From left to right: Jillian Pendergast ’18, Tessa Malone ’18, Lake Lewis ’18, Coach Gavin Tucker, Coach Erin Aitchison ’98, Lilia Hargreaves ’18, Coach Jade Langston ‘08; Conner Pierce ’18, and Aliya Schenck ‘18.